Phase-Matching for Generation of Isolated Attosecond XUV and Soft-X-Ray Pulses with Few-Cycle Drivers
in: Physical Review X (2020)
Isolated attosecond pulses (IAPs) produced through laser-driven high-harmonic generation (HHG) hold promise for unprecedented insight into physical, chemical, and biological processes via attosecond x-ray diffraction and spectroscopy with tabletop sources. Efficient scaling of HHG towards x-ray energies, however, has been hampered by ionization-induced plasma generation impeding the coherent buildup of high-harmonic radiation. Recently, it has been shown that these limitations can be overcome in the socalled “overdriven regime” where ionization loss and plasma dispersion strongly modify the driving laser pulse over small distances, albeit without demonstrating IAPs. Here, we report on experiments contrasting the generation of IAPs at 80 eV in argon with neon via attosecond streaking measurements. Comparing our experimental results to numerical simulations, we conclude that IAPs in argon are generated in the overdriven regime. We introduce a simple expression that fully describes the HHG dipole phase-mismatch contribution, specifically the effect of the blueshift of the driving laser. Furthermore, we present a method to numerically calculate the transient HHG phase mismatch, which allows us to demonstrate the accuracy of the introduced phase-mismatch expression. Finally, we perform simulations for different gases and wavelengths and show that including the full HHG dipole phase-mismatch contribution is important for understanding HHG with long-wavelength, few-cycle laser pulses in high-pressure gas targets, which are currently being employed for scaling isolated attosecond pulse generation beyond extreme ultraviolet (XUV) towards soft-x-ray photon energies.